"BAD PAPER: The Bursting of the Fiction Bubble"

read it here.

July 17, 2010

The Wrong Kind of Snow

British playwright David Hare on James Wood:

How can there be a wrong way to make good art? And, indeed, what point does criticism serve when it asserts only “This is not the sort of thing of which I approve”? When a literary critic such as James Wood twists himself into a pretzel explaining exactly why the novel he has under review is the wrong kind of good novel, he sounds like nothing so much as a Railtrack official railing against the wrong kind of snow.



Chris said...

Brilliant. Thank you David Hare.

You might want to have a peak at Nigel Beale's blog, Edmond, if you haven't seen it already. There's quite a hornet's nest stirred up here:


and here:


Nigel didn't take kindly to my defense of your blog or my (or Andre Alexis') opinion of Wood's writing. Alexis' comments and his original essay Beale references are well worth reading, anyway.

Edmond Caldwell said...

Thanks for the comment, Chris, and for fighting the good fight over at Nigel's. I don't think you're ever going to get much of a good argument out of him, however; he's more into "appreciation" than analysis when it comes to Wood, and doesn't really stoop to address or refute specific claims. Plus he's congenitally dyslexic and suffers from a host of aphasias acquired when a shelf of Reader's Digest Condensed Books fell on his head during one of his used bookstore junkets, so actually understanding what he reads is an issue as well.

I'm considering writing up a critique of Jensen's fawning piece in Quarterly Conversation (which usually doesn't publish such shoddy stuff, or at least didn't before its pages became laden with Google ads), which of course contains the passage about Beckett that Nigel uses as the centerpiece of his post. I hope you'll stay tuned!

Steven Augustine said...

I like "appreciation" as a metaphor for the fellatic arts.